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Spiced Pear or Apple Muffins

I should know by now not to send pears in the kids’ lunches. They’re far too fragile – especially when sweet and ripe – and inevitably get bashed around in their backpacks before coming back home. There seems to always be a surplus of pears around the house, too – I find them with one bite in them, starting to compost themselves on the coffee table or beside the bed. I often grate them into our morning oatmeal, but have become somewhat of an expert at using them up in other baked goods, too (pancakes, muffins, waffles…)

Pears, of course, make fantastic muffins. They add sweetness and more moisture than an apple would, but also fiber – a large pear contains about 8 g, so don’t bother peeling it before you grate it. Much of the nutrients and fiber are contained in the skin.

Spiced Pear or Apple Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted, or canola oil
2 large eggs
1 large very ripe pear, coarsely grated, or 1 cup chunky applesauce
1/2 cup raisins or chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk together the brown sugar, butter and eggs and add it to the dry ingredients along with the grated pear (grate it on a plate to catch any juices – add them too). Stir in the raisins or nuts and divide between paper-lined muffin tins.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool for a few minutes before tipping the muffins on an angle to allow steam to escape. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

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